At 97, still in the writing game | April 5, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

- April 5, 2019

At 97, still in the writing game

Children's author publishes her first novel for adults

by Chris Kenrick

"I realize not everyone can enjoy good health, but it's still possible to do things when you're quite old," said 97-year-old Martha Tolles. "That's the good news."

This story contains 1009 words.

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Contributing writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at ckenrick@paweekly.com.

Comments

8 people like this
Posted by Webster Street
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2019 at 10:16 pm

Martha: you are a gem. More power to you. Stanford's Continuing Education courses on writing are exceptionally good. Enjoy your "joie de vivre". You write childrens' books; I write journals about our adventures around the globe, a few published. My mother-in-law enjoyed 102 years of hard work, and her smile and spirit for living and love of familiy, never left her.

"....sheepishly proud." Sure. But, forget the word "sheepishly". Be VERY proud that you're here.

We are the seniors of Palo Alto; we have perspectives and depth of knowledge because of our ages. It's not clear just how much Palo Altans value their seniors. They're a busy bunch. Too busy to take a bouquet of flowers to the house-bound resident down the street, too busy to offer to write a lettter for them. Too busy to engage. But, we know our strengths and wisdom. Thank you, Martha for writing and sharing. s/ Gloria Pyszka, 80 YO, Palo Alto


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 6, 2019 at 11:02 pm

@Webster St, enjoyed going back to reread your 2015 Guest Opinion.


33 people like this
Posted by A Nice Story But...
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 7, 2019 at 8:09 am

Outstanding story & wishing Ms. Tolles many more years of creative writing!

> ...we have perspectives and depth of knowledge because of our ages. It's not clear just how much Palo Altans value their seniors.

I cannot speak for Palo Altans, but in other areas elders are often disregarded & their wishes ignored.

My sister threw our mother into an assisted-care facility against her wishes & seized the trust assets by way of a conservatorship of person & estate despite my mother's objections.

To date, the various protective agencies & law enforcement have done nothing to help remedy the situation & my mother's court-appointed attorney rolled over & played dead by failing to be a zealous advocate on her behalf.

The probate courts are awarding too many conservatorships based on flimsy documentation & to contest such proceedings is a cash cow for avaricious attorneys.

Elder abuse also includes isolation, false imprisonment & mental cruelty but in most instances, law enforcement & state protective agencies look the other way preferring to define them as civil matters rather than criminal violations.

Unlike other cultures (i.e. Native American, Asian etc.) elders in modern western society are not valued for their wisdom but viewed as nuisances. As a result, many are discarded by unscrupulous offspring aided by their deceitful attorneys & a judicial system that opts to look the other way.



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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 7, 2019 at 1:51 pm

^ Classic example of reaping what we have sown.


31 people like this
Posted by Access To Trust Assets + Conservatorship = Bad News
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2019 at 2:59 pm

> My sister threw our mother into an assisted-care facility against her wishes & seized the trust assets by way of a conservatorship of person & estate despite my mother's objections.

This happens more frequently than most people are aware of.

It's called isolating the elder and raping the estate.

A lax probate court system + parasitic attorneys enable this ongoing practice.


> To date, the various protective agencies & law enforcement have done nothing to help remedy the situation...

That is because most state protective agencies and law enforcement only acknowledge physical abuse and/or health/safety violations as justifiable reasons for further investigation of elder abuse.

The latitude for court-appointed conservator, private/public guardian and independent fiduciary financial abuse is unlimited & oftentimes unchecked.


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Posted by Shari Silverman
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2019 at 11:12 am

Martha,
I loved the Katie books, especially Katie for President. Our class would receive the Scholastic Publishers order form. I always looked forward to receiving it and seeing if there were any Katie books available.

Thank you for so many enjoyable childhood memories!


20 people like this
Posted by Papillon For Elders
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Hopefully all elders can enjoy good health & be free to pursue their interests but this is often not the case as cited by two earlier posts.

I am currently writing this entry alone in my room at Sunrise assisted-care. Two years ago I was diagnosed with mild dementia & my eldest daughter sought a full conservatorship by petitioning the court with minimal medical documentation.

Because of my dementia, I was not allowed to select my own attorney & one was chosen by the court. This attorney opted to side with my daughter's attorneys rather than fight for my rights and as a result, I have lost my house & any access to my personal finances. All I wanted to do was spend my remaining years in my own home but my daughter sold it & maintained possession of the proceeds from the sale.

My daughter now has sole access to my late husband's & my estate...much of which has been either real property sold or liquidated & I am now sequestered in a small room where my only outlets are three meals a day, a television in my room + a bed & shower. All of my personal possessions (i.e. clothing & jewelry) were either discarded or kept by my daughter.

Since the conservatorship is also one of estate + person, my business & legal mail is sent directly to my daughter who never informs me of pertinent matters. She has since changed my private telephone number three times so I am in essence isolated from any inbound calls & outside visitation is severely restricted as she does not want me to take any pro-active measures on my behalf.

During the past holidays, i have spent Thanksgiving & Christmas alone in my room except for eating meals in the dining hall as my daughter is apparently not comfortable having me over for a family holiday dinner. I suspect that she is feeling somewhat uncomfortable over what she has done to date.

Two caring acquaintances have tried to help me get out of this legal entanglement but my daughter caught word of their intentions & has now filed a restraining order against them to prevent their future visitations & phone calls.

While I am adamantly against such measures, my court-appointed attorney has not discussed the matter with me & will not voice my opposition to these proceedings citing that I should consider myself fortunate to be living in an assisted-care facility where all my needs are met.

Elder isolation is a serious violation but one often neglected by law enforcement as the police would rather be handing out traffic tickets or chasing down suspected criminals.

I suspect this will be my last entry as my daughter is planning to cancel my internet services because she does not want me communicating with others or discussing this issue any further.

At 85, I thought there would be more to life but apparently I was mistaken. It is disturbing how one's children can turn on you because of the money involved. I imagine my daughter wanted her entire inheritance sooner...as in before I passed on


8 people like this
Posted by 2nd Year Law Student
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 8, 2019 at 3:47 pm

^^^ clearly an example of conservator-imposed elder abuse (isolation, false imprisonment & mental cruelty).

CA Penal Code 368 spells it out but law enforcement often looks the other way if the violations are not physical abuse or health/safety code related.

California Penal Code, Section 368

(c) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult, with knowledge that he or she is an elder or a dependent adult, to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering...is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(f) Any person who commits the false imprisonment of an elder or dependent adult by the use of violence, menace, fraud, or deceit is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.

(i) As used in this section, "caretaker" means any person who has the care, custody, or control of, or who stands in a position of trust with, an elder or a dependent adult.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 8, 2019 at 5:45 pm

^ "resident of another community" apparently not Palo Alto Sunrise assisted-care.


4 people like this
Posted by Protect Our Elders From Emotional & Financial Abuse
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2019 at 6:06 pm

> ^ "resident of another community" apparently not Palo Alto Sunrise assisted-care.

Sunrise is a major nation-wide chain of assisted-care facilities.

I suspect that 2nd Year Law Student/Stanford is a bit too young for conservator-imposed incarceration at an assisted-care facility.


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Posted by Webster Street
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2019 at 11:49 am

Re the comment from Papillon for Elders. I do not use the word, but curiosty overcame me so I looked it up online.

Which definition do you think that the above writer meant? All of the following are online.
1) disorder of kertinisation
2) breed of toy spaniels
3) Symbolizes freedom of a free man/woman. Represents breaking free from all societal mores and restricions. There are no chains on them as they go wherever they want and do whatever they choose................

Thank you for prompting me to learn a new word. / Gloria Pyszka


8 people like this
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 9, 2019 at 12:44 pm

> Re the comment from Papillon for Elders. I do not use the word, but curiosty overcame me so I looked it up online.

> Which definition do you think that the above writer meant? All of the following are online.

Seriously?

Answer: None of the above.

Papillon by Henri Charrière, was a novel based on the notorious French prison (aka 'Devil's Island') situated in Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana.

Now do you see the connection?


8 people like this
Posted by Probate Court Is Hell On Earth
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 9, 2019 at 1:37 pm

"3) Symbolizes freedom of a free man/woman. Represents breaking free from all societal mores and restricions. There are no chains on them as they go wherever they want and do whatever they choose................"

I believe it is #3 from the standpoint the poster alludes to breaking free from the constraints of a ruthless conservator.


Like this comment
Posted by webster Street
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2019 at 7:48 pm

Seriously: thanks so much for your education. Now I really feel enlightened. Next time, try to get your message across w/o the put-down. GO HIGH.

With regards.......


2 people like this
Posted by Protect Our Elders From Emotional & Financial Abuse
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 10, 2019 at 7:43 am

This local advocacy group in Saratoga is striving to promote CA legislation to curtail elder abuse of person & estate.

The 'Libertas Media' accounts are quite compelling but also very disturbing.

Web Link

Many of these victims once led active lives but were crushed beneath the wheel by those actively seeking immediate access to their personal finances & real property.

In Sunday School, I recall the commandment 'Honor thy Father and thy Mother'. Unfortunately this venerable tenet often gets disregarded later down the road when a family estate is involved...regardless of ts overall monetary value.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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